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Formula Renault 3.5

After starting on pole position and making a strong start to the race, Kevin Magnussen (Carlin) seemed well on course for his first win in the Formula Renault 3.5 Series. The race did not quite pan out that way, however, and it was another Danish driver, Marco Sorensen, who took victory ahead of Jules Bianchi (Tech 1 Racing) and Sam Bird (ISR). On a track where he has often enjoyed success, Sorensen gave his team their very first win in the discipline.

With a perfect lap in qualifying, Kevin Magnussen claimed his first pole position in the Formula Renault 3.5 Series. The McLaren Driver Development Programme man lined up at the front of the grid alongside Sam Bird, with Marco Sorensen and Jules Bianchi making up the second row. For this race, the drivers were given 800 seconds of DRS usage. Kevin Magnussen made the best start to the race, but he immediately found himself fending off attacks from Sam Bird. Jules Bianchi, third, made a mistake with his braking at Fagnes corner, allowing Marco Sorensen and Robin Frijns (Fortec Motorsports) to pass.

The front five of Kevin Magnussen, Sam Bird, Marco Sorensen, Robin Frijns and Jules Bianchi then began to pull away from the rest. At the front of the chasing pack, Carlos Huertas (Fortec Motorsports) found himself trying to hold off the challenge of Jake Rosenzweig (ISR) and Arthur Pic (Dams). Pic took advantage of a mistake by Rosenzweig and moved up into seventh position. Later, it was Huertas’s turn to take an unwanted detour off the track, with Pic moving up to sixth as a result. Overtaking was rife in the middle of the field. Nico Müller (International Draco Racing) moved into ninth place after getting the better of Daniil Move (P1 Motorsport) and Alexander Rossi (Arden Caterham). The safety car then made an appearance while Lucas Foresti’s (Dams) car was removed from the track.

At the restart, the five front runners remained wheel-to-wheel and pulled away from the pack once again. Sam Bird then launched an attack on Kevin Magnussen at the Bus Stop chicane. The pair went too wide, however, and Marco Sorensen seized the opportunity to move into the lead. The Lotus driver took control of the race ahead of Kevin Magnussen and Sam Bird. The following lap, on the same part of the track, Jules Bianchi surprised everyone by climbing from fifth into second. Robin Frijns, who had been third, then took his turn to go off the track.

A few laps from the end, Marco Sorensen led the race from Jules Bianchi, Sam Bird, Kevin Magnussen, Arthur Pic, Mikhail Aleshin (Team RFR) and Nico Müller. Kevin Magnussen and Arthur Pic then added to the list of race incidents by coming together at La Source hairpin, handing fourth place to Mikhail Aleshin. Marco Sorensen pulled away at the end of the race and held on for his first victory in the Formula Renault 3.5 Series. Jules Bianchi finished second and Sam Bird third, a result that suits both men well in terms of the championship. It allows Bird to maintain his lead at the top, while Bianchi now moves up to fourth place in the standings.

What they said:

Marco Sorensen: “I took advantage of the battle between Kevin Magnussen and Sam Bird to take the lead. I came up behind two cars that had slowed after cutting the chicane, and I had no other choice but to pass and avoid them. It’s an important victory for me and for the team, who are realising the potential shown since the beginning.”

Jules Bianchi: “I hope I’ll soon win a race! I’m working very hard with Tech 1 Racing. Yesterday we were 16th in collective testing, we improved the car and I also worked on my driving. I was opportunistic in the race, as you have to be when things are so competitive.”

Sam Bird: “I think Kevin Magnussen defended his first place a bit too much. It cost him – and me, to a lesser extent – a good result. In the end, the points for finishing third are good for me in terms of the championship, and it’s my third podium finish in a row.”

Official Renault Sport Press Release.

Posted: 02 June 2012
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